SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Second-year Head Coach Mike Gabinet and the UNO men’s hockey team is preparing to begin their 2018-19 regular season in early October.
After the Mavericks finished fifth in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference last year and lost to North Dakota in the conference tournament, they look to improve in 2018.
“Our biggest goal this year is to get to the Frozen Faceoff,” said Ryan Galt, a senior forward for the Mavs.
UNO will look to lean on some of their veteran players this year–the Mavericks’ roster includes five captains and 10 seniors. Their experience and leadership will prove useful and advantageous throughout the tough 2018 season.
“We have a [deeper] team this year,” Galt said.
After a Manitoba exhibition game on Oct.7, UNO wasted no time starting up their regular season. The Mavericks will travel to New York and face a scrappy Union team for a two-game series on Oct. 12 and 13. UNO then returns to their home ice to face a prolific Notre Dame squad on Oct. 19 and 20, a team Omaha struggled with last year.
The Fighting Irish played hosts to UNO, almost one year ago exactly, and split the two-game series with them 1-1. Game one was won by the Mavs 6-4 and the Irish then took game two by a score of 5-4.
The 2018 home-opener against the Irish will surely be an interesting matchup early on. Notre Dame was just one-win shy of being crowned national champions last year and will be a good test for this year’s Mavericks squad. Coach Gabinet, during UNO hockey’s media day, noted that the non-conference schedule this year is extremely tough.
“I think that just fuels the fire of how you [have] to prepare day in and day out when you know the tough competition you’re going to face throughout the season,” Gabinet said.
Fans and students alike have patiently awaited UNO’s hockey season and it has finally arrived. With an exhibition game against Manitoba and a two-game series against Union, the Mavs hope to enter Baxter Arena undefeated against Notre Dame in what will surely be a battle of two dynamic teams.
The result of the two-game series will most likely affect each team near tournament time considering they have both been nationally ranked in past years.